Hello fight fans (look at me being all Mauro Ranallo-like) , we’ve got a big night of fights for you, as Strikeforce returns to the great state of Texas for “Strikeforce: Houston”, live on Showtime. The event features two BIG championship headliners as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal defends his light heavyweight championship against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante while Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will be fighting for the vacant middleweight title. Also on the card, Jorge Gurgel vs. KJ Noons and Bobby Lashley takes on Chad Griggs.
Inside Fights will have full round-by-round recaps of all the action tonight, with our coverage beginning with the broadcast on Showtime at 10 PM ET.
Follow along for the latest results “after the jump”
Welcome to the coverage, fight fans. The first bout up features former WWE superstar, Bobby Lashley, taking on the firefighter and paramedia, Chad Griggs. In other words, Bobby should be tearing this cat apart…at least Strikeforce hopes so. He IS their Brock Lesnar, one would think.
Chad Griggs vs. Bobby Lashley
Referee: Jon Schorle
Lashley fakes a jab and takes Griggs to the mat with the double leg. Lashley in side control and hammering Griggs in the face. Lashley trying to pin the arm behind Griggs’ arm with his leg, in a effort to hammer unprotected shots on his face. Bobby spins to side control on the other side and isn’t able to get the mount. Griggs gets back to his feet and partially stuffs a shot from Bobby, who eventually powers through for the takedown. Lashley lets Griggs to his feet again and eats a knee to the chest and he’s leaning on him against the cage. The referee separates them and as Lashley shoots in for the takedown, Griggs catches Bobby with a big uppercut that splits him open under his left eyes. Lashley finishes the takedown, but bleeds all over Griggs for the remainder of the round.
Lashley steps up and scoops Griggs into the air, slamming him hard into the mat. Lashley positions Griggs against the cage and begins working with strikes to the face. After a minute, Lashley gains full mount and Lashley starts unloading punches. Chad puts his feet into the cage and bucks out of mount, allowing Lashley to gain side control again. Lashley takes mount again, but has little more than straight punches to offer. The referee stands them back up for the doctor to look at the cut. Lashley says he is fine to continue so they re-engage on their feet. Lashley is back away, looking very, very tired, but shoots forward for the double-leg and it is stuffed by Chad Griggs. Lashley is stuck on his knees and is clenching Griggs’ leg, but Griggs begins unloading HUGE hammerfists and punches on the grounded Lashley’s head. The bell sounds to end the round, but the referee steps in and indicates that the fight is over.
Winner: Chad Griggs by TKO (R2, 10:00)
So much for that whole “Bobby’s the next Brock” idea. His limited skill set wasn’t enough and once the tank ran dry, there wasn’t much more he could do.
Jorge Gurgel vs. K.J. Noons
Referee: Kerry Hatley
Body kick from Gurgel is blocked. Big right hook from Jorge. KJ with a body kick of his own. Head kick from Gurgel , followed by a quick one-two. Gurgel eats a body kick followed by a big right from KJ. Inside leg kick followed by a jab from Noons. Leg kick from Gurgel. Right hook from KJ. Step kick from Gurgel. Inside left leg kick from each fighter. Gurgel is bleeding around the right eye. Leg kick from Noons after he steals a look at the clock. Gurgel misses a flying knee. Two big shots from Noons. Body shots from Noons. Gurgel with his hands down taunting Noons. Noons eats three big hooks as he leans over in close. As the bell sounds, Gurgel eats a big left hook that knocks him silly. There is no way he can continue, but they’re letting him shake it off.
Noons hits two huge punches and Gurgel is down to the mat. Gurgel grabs the single leg and is asking the ref to stop the fight. The referee hasn’t stepped in and Gurgel eats three shots to the head and a big illegal knee. The ref is stopping is the bout. Frank Shamrock is trying to say that it was a legal knee but both of Gurgel’s knees were still on the mat and the referee still hadn’t stepped in. Ugly finish to a good fight.
Winner: KJ Noons by knockout (R2, 0:19)
Mauro and Frank are talking about the vacant Middleweight title and mention that Jake Shields was “released”. It’s more like he “didn’t want to even sit at the table and renew his deal when he could take much more money from a more reputable organization. Also, you didn’t put him on the damn poster when he was defending his title against a debuting fighter.
Tim Kennedy vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight title)
Referee: “Big” John McCarthy
Lots of “USA” chants to start the fight. Jacare and Kennedy are both very tentative to start, but are capable to explode. Jabs and counter rights from Souza and Kenedy. Push kick from Jacare. Jab from Jacare, followed with a right over the top that rocks Kennedy, who circles to his left. Jacare follows up with more punches that connect. Big shots against the cage by Jacare, but Kennedy ducks out and just misses a right hook. Leg kick from Kennedy, who steps into two punches from Souza. Inside leg kick from Jacare sits deep on Kennedy. Big bomb misses from Jacare. Kennedy hits Jacare with a big open palm to the face and lands a big counter of his own but Jacare slips to the mat. Jacare and Kennedy clinch on the cage and get back to their feet. Leg kick from Kennedy on the left thigh of Souza. The round ends with a smiling Jacare leading on our cards.
High kick from Kennedy is deflected. Kennedy comes in with a high kick but slips. Jacare isn’t able to capitalize on the error and they are both back on their feet. Jacare initiates contact with big punches, ends up grabbing Kennedy in the half collar and begins dirty boxing. Kennedy shakes free and delivers a big kick to the left thigh. Kennedy steps in for a left, but Jacare counter strikes with a right that bends Tim’s head back funny. Jacare shoots for the first takedown of the fight and Kennedy stuffs it on the fences. Left kick to the thigh by Kennedy. Superman punch misses from Tim, but Jacare counters with a left body shot. Push kick to the face from Jacare.
Between rounds, King Mo is shown talking earlier in the night about seeing himself as the underdog tonight and going out to have fun.
Kennedy engages early on with the clinch and is pressing Jacare against the cage. Twice already in this round, we’re seeing strong signs that Tim will be using what he sees as his superior conditioning to test Souza in these rounds. Two big punches from Jacare split Kennedy over his left eye. Jacare is aiming his rights for the cut for sure. Push kick from Jacare. Leg kick gets checked by Kennedy. Kennedy shoots in and gets a double leg takedown on Jacare. Tim is working to get some sort of advantage in the open guard, but the BJJ expertise of Jacare is evident and he works to scramble away after some teased submission attempts. Back on their feet, we get another minute of striking before the round ends.
Leg kick from Kennedy connects. Good combo punches followed by a body kick from Tim. Body kick from Kennedy. Jacare misses a hook and Kennedy misses the collar tie. Right hook misses from Kennedy. Jacare shoots for a takedown that is stuffed. Kennedy circles around on it and is met with a knee to the body for his efforts. Left, right from Jacare. Inside leg kick from Kennedy is countered by a right hook to the left eye of Kennedy. The inside leg kick from Tim that follows lands hard on the cup of Jacare, who takes a moment to compose himself. They end up with a longer break when the timekeeper can’t figure out how to reset the time. Kennedy shoots for a single leg after the break, but Jacare slips away. Kennedy fakes the superman and almost gets a left hooks for his efforts. The round ends to a smattering of applause.
Feijao interview backstage from earlier in the night. Talks about the changes he’s made to camp and diet to rebound from his losses and make a comeback.
Both men are coming out swinging, but it looks like Jacare saved some power. Looping left from Kennedy. Jacare misses the big right hand and Kennedy pursues but catches only leather. Jacare backs away and lands a big right, reopening that cut over Tim’s left eye. Kennedy shoots for the takedown and misses, but Jacare cracks him in the side of the head with a big right hand. Kennedy clinches and drives a knee into Jacare’s chest. Kennedy clinching against the cage, but Souza wants none of it. Body kick from Kennedy lands hard. Jacare partially catches it and lands a right. Jacare pushes Kennedy to the cage, but gets Kennedy spins away. Jacare shoots for a takedown with a minute to go and takes Tim’s back, but Tim gets clear. A big right hook lands clean on Tim’s chin with 30 seconds to go. Kennedy shoots in and gets a strong grip on Jacare, scoops him up and slams him hard to the mat to end the round. Both fighters think they won this. Great fight, mostly stand-up, but fantastic fight.
Winner and new Strikeforce Middleweight Champion: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
King Mo’s entrance is far from understated. He brings a handful of chickies to the cage with him and Mauro and crew talk up his love of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Main Event (for Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title)
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (c) vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante
Referee: “Big” John McCarthy
Feijao comes at Mo early missing on two combos. Lawal goes for a takedown, but Feijao uses the mat to get back to his feet. Lawal scoops Feijao in a cradle and slams him hard to the mat, but doesn’t get more as Feijao is back up. Body kick from Feijao. Mo looks very loose to start the fight with his jabs very “snappy”. Feijao, by comparison, is shooting his in hard. Big uppercut to the body by Feijao. Mo shoots in and eats a knee to the body that is partially caught. No takedown for King Mo. Two knees on Mo from Feijao. Setting it up well with his jab and Mo is slowing his pace again and being more cautious. Leg kick from Feijao. The round ends with the fighters circling one another.
Leg kick from Feijao. Inside leg kick from Feijao leads to Mo switching to southpaw. Big left high kick from Feijao, but King Mo controls Feijao in the air and slams into Feijao’s guard. Feijao eats a few strikes before he gets back to his feet. Mo circles around before launching into three body shots and a straight left to the body. Two body shots from Mo back in orthodox stance. Jab from Feijao, body punches from Lawal, who is back into southpaw. Mo has the single leg and is working for the takedown as the round comes to a close.
Lawal comes in for body shots in tight, but two knees rock Lawal. King Mo tries to step away but he charges in and lands a big right hand that knocks King Mo down. King Mo has the single legs hooked to try and recover, but Feijao is raining elbows to the side of the head. Feijao is pressed against the cage by Mo, who continues to have no answer for the heavy, heavy strikes to the head and Mo continues to slide further and further toward the mat and Big John steps in to stop the fight. King Mo collapses and we have a new Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion.
Winner and new Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion: Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante by knockout (R3, 1:14)
Great fight, glad that Feijao was finally able to live up to the potential that he showed so many years ago. Two title changes and some odd finishes (nothing controversial, but I definitely think a warning was in order for that KJ Noons punch to end round 1 and then another, if not a DQ for the knee to the head of the downed Jorge Gurgel. Bobby Lashley has a lot to learn, but let’s feed him to Herschel Walker, eh?
See you in 7 days for UFC 118!
Preliminary Card (un-aired)
Daniel Cormier vs. Jason Riley
Andre Galvao vs. Nate Moore
Rocky Long vs. Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes
Kier Gooch vs. Adam Schindler
Jose Santibanez vs. Reynaldo Trujillo
Humberto DeLeon vs. Chad Robichaux
Chad Cook vs. Arteneus Young
Tags: Bobby Lashley, king mo, KJ Noons, Mixed Martial Arts, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, Rafael Feijao, Strikeforce, Strikeforce: Houston, tim kennedy